In this week’s edition of the minor league mailbag, I attempt to prognosticate about the major leagues, something for which I am very sorry.
Pretty much everything you listed there. Pitchers will throw bullpens and simulated games, hitters will take BP, and there’s a lot of activity tailored towards what exactly the injury was.
@unlikelyfanatic Did the Astros tandem pitching system break Mark Appel?
According to Ron Shah of Baseball Prospectus, who has seen Appel quite a bit, “Tandem has nothing to do with Mark Appel's struggles.” While the Astros do indeed use a tandem system, Appel has really been exempt from it. Most pitchers will pitch every four days in the tandem, starting one and coming in from the pen in another. Appel’s started every game he’s pitched in, and has only pitched on May 31, June 12, and June 22, breaks longer than even the normal amount associated with “extended rest.” Appel is struggling because, well, he just is. He’s showing none of the finesse that was expected with his high draft position, and when that is combined with his tendency to tip pitches, you get poor results.
@unlikelyfanatic do u think there will be more players moving from Myrtle to Frisco anytime soon other than Claudio?
Sam Wolff has been pitching really well, though they’ve recently started limiting his innings, and he could be a potential move when Derek Holland finishes his rehab. I do think Alex Claudio rejoins Frisco at some point soon, as he’s quite reliably shown that he’s too good for Carolina League hitters.
@unlikelyfanatic Do you think Nomar Mazara is going to be promoted to myrtle beach this year
I think there’s a halfway decent chance he moves up this season, especially if there are some post-trade deadline moves. Mazara still has lots to learn, and he’s still pulling his batting average out of the basement it sank to during his slow start, but in the last month or so he’s shown improvements, as well as the first signs of the promised power. In 71 games this season, Mazara has hit ten homers, a pace far exceeding the 13 he hit in 126 games in 2013, and there are extremely positive reports about his development in regards to pure hitting, with the results beginning to match the raw tool. If there are any more position player moves with Myrtle Beach, Mazara could be on that list, but it wouldn’t be a negative for him to stay in Hickory for the entirety of 2014.
@unlikelyfanatic Phil Klein seems to be tearing it up this season with his awesome ERA. Why not so much talk about him moving up?
Y’know, I’m not really sure. Klein didn’t come into the season with a lot of hype, due to some previous struggle with the strike zone, but so far has proven to be one of Frisco’s more effective pitchers. I think he’s in a good position to be promoted to Round Rock, and will get the chance to prove himself against the highest level of minor league hitters at some point in 2014. He could actually be a sneaky late-season bullpen addition, if he keeps striking guys out.
@unlikelyfanatic Can you explain what is next for the new draftees/signees? Do they report immediately, on hold until spring, varies?
It does vary case-to-case, but the vast majority sign and report immediately, since the signing deadline is July 18 as of the last CBA. Unless they’re injured (like this year’s fifth-round pick Wes Benjamin out of Kansas, who had Tommy John in April), all that sign will be assigned to a team.
@unlikelyfanatic So, umm, Joey Gallo's getting called up to play first base for the Rangers, right? (Ducks)
No. Carlos Peña is.
@unlikelyfanatic Thad Levine mentioned Gallo having ability to play 1B/cOF. What is current perception of his 3B defense? Can he stick?
After watching him take grounders and play a few games, and hearing from those who saw him with Myrtle Beach earlier in the season, I definitely think that Gallo can stick at third for at least a few more years. He’s athletic and hard working, and has made huge strides at a position where he can add incredible value, and the arm allows him a little leeway with the glove. I think he will eventually end up in the outfield, but not until he’s been a major leaguer for a few years, and first base is even farther down the line. Of course, that’s excluding any extenuating circumstances, like team need and injuries.
@unlikelyfanatic jurickson profar and roogie odor in the offseason...who do u keep who do u trade and why?
I don’t usually try to prognosticate the major league team, but this is an interesting (and surely reasonable) thought experiment. Though Adrian Beltre is a beloved figure, the signs are there that his defense is finally in decline, and injury concerns put a cap on his offensive prowess. Some have suggested moving Profar to third, leaving Odor at second and Andrus at short, but that’s still making do with someone at an unnatural position and who doesn’t have the traditional power profile. Of course, that could be a stopgap until Joey Gallo is ready for the major leagues, but then there’s still the problem of what to do at second base.
So, to actually answer your question: I have no clue. This is why I don’t even have a fantasy team.
@unlikelyfanatic I got two for you. 1. The DSL rangers seem to always be awesome, any legit prospects there? 2. Who starts at 2B next year?
The biggest name down there right now is probably right-hander Marcos Diplan, who’s struck out 17 batters in 19.1 innings, only walking nine, four of whom reached in his first outing. Brallan Perez is a hitter people noticed last season, when he walked 32 times to only 14 strikeouts, and the second baseman looks to be repeating that trend, already piling up 12 walks to three Ks in 18 games. The 18-year-old could possibly be due for a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League, or he could jump stateside in 2015. Of course, who knows if those numbers will hold up.
As for second base: Even right when Odor came up, I would have still said that it was Profar’s job to lose next spring training. Now? I’m not sure. It’s a difficult question to answer.
@unlikelyfanatic how much bunting is done in the minors? Should players practice bunting so they’ll have a use when Wash plays him?
I don’t know about the other teams, specifically, but there’s been a surprising uptick in bunting with Frisco this season, leading me to believe that most of these players would do well in Washington’s offense.
The exception to my sarcasm, of course, is Joey Gallo. It’s fun when Joey Gallo bunts against the shift. (Also, I’m half convinced he could bunt a ball to the warning track.)